PLTW-Principles of Engineering

Principles of

Principles of Engineering Course Background


Project Lead The Way

This class is one of the courses in the Project Lead The Way program.  PLTW is a national inititive that has developed classes to encourage interest in the technology careers that will be abundant in the 21st century.  For more information about this program see the MTHS Project Lead The Way Website link at the bottom of this page.

Opportunities for Girls in PLTW

Many girls across the nation have been realizing their interests through the Project Lead The Way program.  The PLTW link at the bottom of this site will direct you to more information about how Girls have attained success in Project Lead The Way classes.

Principles of Engineering Class Information

Principles of Engineering (POE) is designed to be a survey course that gives students insight into numerous engineering technology fields to help them determine particular interests for future pursuits. Although this course takes an engineering perspective, it is by no means only for future engineers.  Many careers of the 21st century are going to demand the technology and teamwork principles that emanate from the POE class.  Several projects in this course include the following:
  • Class competitions in developing compound machines to perform given challenges
  • The ever popular recycling machine project
  • Designing trusses for competition
  • Designing electrical circuits
  • Determining trajectories through ballistic device development

Class Projects

Video: Delivery Vehicle Control Project

This is a fun challenge from Principles of Engineering that Mason and Ryan mastered.  The problem that was posed to Mason and Ryan was that there was an assembly plant that needed a design vehicle to travel back and forth along a track based upon an input from one dial that could be turned.  For safety reasons, this vehicle needed an emergency shut off switch on each side of the track in case the vehicle traveled too far.  Mason and Ryan made the model vehicle in the following video, and designed a program in Robo Pro software to detect when a dial was turned on a potentiometer.  Great Work!

Video: Elevator Project

Elevator Project

One of the machine control projects for the Principles of Engineering class was to build an elevator. This elevator prototype needed to have 3 call switches to tell it which floor to go to. Students not only built the physical structure for this machine, but they also developed the intuitive program to tell it how to function.  Great work Matt, Nick, Derek, and Ryan!

Video: Truss Design Challenge

The Principles of Engineering class learned how to calculate the forces upon members of a truss.  Each group then designed their own truss and tested it in a competition to determine the strongest truss.  The following videos show the design and testing process.

Video: Cable Winding Project

Cable Winding Challenge

In this project, Brandon and Brennen were given a challenge to build a machine that could accurately wind a specific length of cable.  The machine they built in the following video, had a light shine through holes that were spaced around the perimeter of a gear.  As this gear turned, a photo-transistor on the opposite side of the light detected each time a hole in the gear passed by.  They then made a computer program using Robo Pro software that counted the number of times the gear rotated.  The program was then set to terminate after the gear rotated a specified number of times.  Great work!

Video: Principles of Engineering - Solar Fuel Cell Car

Principles of Engineering- Solar Fuel Cell Car

One of the renewable energy units in the Principles of Engineering (POE) course involves learning about alternative energy sources such as solar and hydrogen.  Although current technology is a long way away from allowing hydrogen to be a viable energy source, knowledge of this option is good for students to learn about.  As a result, students in POE build a car powered by solar and fuel cells.  They then determine methods to optimize efficiency with this car.  The following video shows one of these cars in action.

Video: Summo Bots

One of the culminating projects for POE is to build and compete in the class summo bot competition.  For this project, students build a car and joystick controller with fishertechnik components.  They then write a program that allows the car to maneuver from inputs from a joystick.  Students not only learn alot through this project, but they also have alot of fun.

The following short video clips show a couple of the competitions in action.

Video: Soccer Goal Detector Project

Soccer Goal Detector:

This is a fun project from Principles of Engineering that David and Hunter built.  The problem that they were given was that they needed to build a machine control that displayed when a soccer ball passed through a goal.  To accomplish this, David and Hunter built a model goal post and placed reed switches around its perimeter.  They then modified the soccer ball to make it magnetized.  The Robo Pro program that they developed was designed so that when a reed switch sensed that the magnetized ball passed by, a light  blinked for 10 seconds and a buzzer sounded.  Although this was a great starting solution, Hunter and David realized that they may need to make further modifications to account for a soccer ball passing close by on the outside of the goal posts.

Video: Recycling Machine

Recycling Machine:

One of the many highlights of the Principles of Engineering class is the Recycling Machine Project.  For this project, students are given 5 different types of materials in the form of a marble.  These include glass, plastic, metal, aluminum, and wood.  They are then given 3 of each of these types to total 15 marbles.  The goal of this project is for students to build and program an device that can sort each of these materials into separate bins.  The following video shows one of these machines in action.  Great work!

Class Files